There’s nothing that says summertime like piling into the back of your buddy’s car and hitting the open road. Sometimes there’s a destination in mind, and other times you simply “wing it”. Whether you’re going for one day or traveling cross country, sometimes the best part of the road trip are the attractions along the way.
Lucky for me I’ve had the pleasure of making the cross country road trip twice in my life. All along the way we were met with hidden treasures of classic Americana. From whole in the wall restaurants to campy souvenir shops, each of these places made our trip that much more fascinating. For this week’s blog post we’ll be discussing our favorite road trip attractions for 2012.
South of the Border
One of the most famous attractions you’ll see when traveling down 95 south is the South of the Border rest stop between Billon, South Carolina and Rowland, North Carolina. Trust me, it’s not something you want to miss, and chances are you won’t have a chance to miss. Known for their hilarious billboards lining Interstate 95, the intentionally kitschy amusement park/ souvenir shop/ restaurant hub is the perfect place to stop and recharge. While the food may not be Food Network quality, the whole experience will have you taking pictures and telling your friends.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
As a kid I remember visiting Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time. Being from the East Coast, I had never traveled that far west before in my life. I remember walking around the city and being awestruck by the landscape that differed so much from the hustle and bustle of New Jersey. One of the places I remembered more than anything was the American International Rattlesnake Museum. They have of 30 different species of live rattlesnakes on site. They also have a large collection of snake related artwork and memorabilia for you to see and purchase. Being a young Boy Scout I was always fascinated by animals and insects. If you ever find yourself in New Mexico, be sure you stop by for the coolest experience of your life.
Located in beautiful Memphis, Tennessee, Graceland represents everything that’s holy to Elvis Presley fans. Built in 1939, Graceland was once the home of Presley and his family. The mansion has since been preserved and was expanded into a museum in 1982. Since then the attraction has become one of the most-visited private homes in the country with over 600,000 visitors a year. Some of the most notable visitors to the site have been Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Prince Albert II. While there you can tour the many rooms as well as his private planes and gardens, but be warned, no flash photography or video cameras or allowed.
If you ever find yourself traveling out west, I strongly recommend you take the Historic Route 66. Also known as Will Rogers Highway, it stretches over 2,000 miles and spans from Chicago all the way to Santa Monica, California. For those of you you’ve never traveled west of the Mississippi, traveling on Route 66 will expose you to many of the attractions that define this country. From the Snow Cap Drive-In in Seligman, Arizona to the America’s Great Plains, you’ll never have a shortage of things to see and do along the way.
It’s a given fact. At some point while traveling, you’re going to have to eat. What’s a road trip without a stop at one of the many Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores along the way? Whether you’re traveling North, East, South or West you can most likely find one of these old country store’s along your way. As of 2011, there are over 600 locations in 42 states, mostly positioned right next to the highway. Stop at Cracker Barrel for a quick bite to eat, a family fun game to entertain the kids, or to pick up some nostalgic candy to keep you awake for the rest of the ride! You can always spot a Cracker Barrel by all of the wooden rocking chairs on the front porch. The best part of the whole experience is the wooden peg game that’s on your table. The food is awesome and the experience is even better. This is why it made it on to our list!